The University football team took a major step forward last week as they became a Football Association Chartered club. In the past the football club had at times been in danger of falling into decline, however a dedicated student committee and group of players have ensured that the club is secure for years to come.
SUFC gained the Charter Standard as a result of their extensive efforts to reach the FA’s criteria which not only demanded work amongst the community but also a quality level of coaching ability, a written constitution and a proven structure. In return for working within the community this achievement sees the club receive a considerable number of benefits as well as £450 worth of kit and sponsorship. Sam Cole spoke of his delight of the move “I think this has been a great step forward for the University football club. Not only does this give us more structure as an organisation but it has enabled us to develop many links with the FA with regard to coaching, financial benefit and other perks including tickets to international games for both England men and ladies.” Athletic Union President Teddy Wilkes was also pleased with the notable advancement of the club; “It’s an amazing achievement for the football guys, they’ve worked particularly hard to get this and it’s great to see a University club working alongside a national governing body. I really encourage other clubs to follow suit.”
The programme began in 2001 and is a national initiative to increase the quality and support of football clubs outside the Premiership and the football league. Furthermore, the FA is keen for the programme to strengthen the structure within the surrounding area, with clubs such as SUFC providing support to local youths. Cole feels that the “benefits of this award will not only be seen by the players in the football team, but also the students of the university and the wider community. An example of our on-going attempts to develop football in the community has been demonstrated by organising a level 1 coaching award to be run at Wide Lane this month at reduced rates, in the hope of providing the area with additional qualified coaches.”
Cole was quick to acknowledge the efforts of the team as well as local investors; “The committee has worked hard to receive this accreditation, and I would personally like to thank all the boys that help run the club and especially Harry Hudson who has played a big part in the administration side of our bid to become an registered FA team. I would also like to thank our main sponsor Investment Quorum and their representative Peter Lowman for his continued financial support this season and which therefore has enabled us to develop as a football club within the University and the local community.”